Selling to St Martin’s Press – EPIC!

For those of you who don’t want to read the saga, the story is this: I sold a 3 book series to Monique Patterson at St Martin’s Press!!! *dances around like a dork*

BUT if you want the juicy details, by all means read on…

Just before Christmas I had an idea for a series that I thought might work for category. But my agent had been asking if I had any Single Title ideas and I thought ‘what the hell. Why couldn’t this be an ST idea?’. So I told her about it and she thought it sounded great. So I wrote a partial, a synopsis of the first book, plus small synopses of the following two books and sent it off. She told me in February she was going to send it out to a whole lot of publishing houses and I bit my nails off for a week, then decided I had too much other stuff to do and promptly forgot about it (this IS true. I did).

Then in June, me and my family decided we were going to go away to Europe for six weeks, taking in the RWA Atlanta conference at the end. I hadn’t heard anything about the series for months and I was okay with that – it was my first single title effort and I wasn’t getting my hopes up. But Maisey said to me before I left ‘I bet it’ll all happen while you’re away’. ‘Pshaw’ I said. ‘It won’t. They’ll probably hate it’.

I was in Stockholm when I got an email from my agent saying that she had a publisher interested in the series, along with an offer. I shrieked. Agent said I could do better so she was going to see what other offers came in. Pshaw, I thought. There won’t be any others.

We left Stockholm and went on to the UK. Got another email from the agent. Apparently another couple of publishers were interested, including St Martin’s Press. I shrieked again. We were in some hotel in the middle of England, at 11.30pm at night because of the time differences and due to wrestling with an unfamiliar cellphone, I’d already hung up on my agent once accidentally! Eventually I managed to speak to her and she told me two publishers were super keen and had upped their offers. A third wanted some more time. This is getting ridiculous, I thought. They were probably high. Or I was high. Or something.

Here is me talking to my future editor (yes, I took a damn photo okay??). I think you could safely say that I’m thinking ‘holy sh*t’ right at this particular point in time.

Meanwhile we kept travelling and it was good to have something else to think about otherwise my brain would have exploded. We ended up in west Wales, right on the coast, in a cottage that had limited cell phone coverage. Which is where I got an email that both editors wanted to talk to me. Cue more shrieking – especially trying to figure out where I could get a cell phone signal and trying to combine an editor in New York, with an agent in LA, and me in the UK!! Eventually I managed to talk to one editor and she was cool. The next evening it was the second editor and involved me dashing out of a tiny Welsh pub (see no cellphone coverage) without my dinner (they were slow), having to get back to our cottage then standing outside in the rain (because that was the only place I could get a signal) hearing this lovely woman say lovely things about my book!

You think that’s the end, right? It’s not the end.

Because it was the Fourth of July weekend and people were on vacation, my agent thought leaving it over the weekend was a good idea, to give two other publishers time to decide.  One of them passed eventually. In the meantime Paris was next on our agenda so off we went.

In Paris we heard that the third publisher had decided to pass so my agent asked the two remaining publishers to put forward their best offers. St Martin’s decided on a pre-empt and basically that meant that I sold my series to the lovely Monique Patterson of St Martin’s Press in Paris!!!

And then I went to Disneyland! Hehe.

So what’s it about?  It’s a very dark, angsty contemporary romance featuring some seriously screwed up billionaires – one of whom is a woman.  🙂

Here’s my Publishers Marketplace announcement:

Jackie Ashenden’s untitled contemporary romance, about a thirty-something self-made real estate billionaire with a revenge motive in the first of a three-book deal for a series pitched as a jet-setting “Sons of Anarchy”, to Monique Patterson at St. Martin’s, in a very nice deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2014, by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary (World).

It was my first RWA conference ever and basically the best conference ever in the history of world conferences. Witness!!

I’m still thinking ‘holy sh*t, I’m standing right here next to Monique Patterson! Who’s just bought my books!’ Plus many other completely overwhelmed expletives…
And my beautifully printed new publisher’s name on my name badge..



51 thoughts on “Selling to St Martin’s Press – EPIC!”

    1. Awww, thanks my lovely! Am full of Moet and jet lag right at this particular point in time. It’s all good though. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Cathleen! I’m still having to pinch myself. It’s getting somewhat painful. 😉

  1. Holy monkey nuggets! I had to google pre-empt to even comprehend the magnitude of the story.

    CONGRATULaintTHATterrificATIONS! <–new word, all for you 🙂

    So so happy for you, chiquita

    1. I LOVE the word, Amalie. Can I have that just for me? In the dictionary and everything?? I quite like monkey nuggets too (though not to eat obviously). hehe. Thanks for the congrats, m’dear. 🙂

    1. Aww, thanks Scarlet! I’ve done the partial, now I have to get stuck into the rest of it. No pressure of course. #somuchpressure

    1. Thanks Lori! Yes, that part was kind of surreal. Especially after years of publishers going ‘no thank you’!

    1. Thanks so much, Trish! Being overseas while it happened did make it somewhat epic – not to mention stressful. But happpy to embrace it now! 🙂

  2. Awesome news, Jackie, congratulations!

    And I bet Monique is stood there thinking ‘I’m stood next to Jackie Ashenden who’s writing these amazing books, this is freaking amazing’!!!! I think she looks a little star struck 🙂

  3. Jackie

    That is stupendous, marvelous and wonderful and you deserve every drop of moet…
    Congratulations and I love the photos!!

    Nina xx

    1. Thanks Kristina! Yeah, it was kind of unbelievable to be honest. It still hasn’t sunken in quite yet…

  4. Wow! What a super buzz, jackie. It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far and massive congratulations. Caroline xx

    1. Thanks so much, Pamela. I’m hoping it’s a good book – course now I have to write it… 🙂

  5. What a great call story… no wonder you are complaining of jet-lag. Super congratulations coming your way. Two editors vying for your work… I had to Google pre-emptive too to fully understand how good this is. Can’t wait to read the books.

    1. Thanks Shirley! Yes, I was a bit vague about the ‘pre-empt’ because basically I feel a bit Kiwi and embarassed about it. I still find it kind of incredible that someone wanted my books that badly. 🙂

  6. Coming in late (although I’ve already congratulated you in other avenues and will toast champagne in Freo) but HUGE congrats. Am so over the moon for you. Your billionaires are DIVINE!!!

  7. Pre-empt + very nice deal = very nice excitement! As in – WOW!!! 🙂 Reading between the lines here, this is fantastic news. Are you willing or able to share the name of this amazing and hard-working agent of yours? Regardless, HUGE congratulations. And what a time and place to get ‘The Call’. Simply magic. Happy writing (no pressure!) When are the books due for publication?

    1. Clare it was very much a wow moment! I didn’t say did I re the agent? Bah, I forgot. My agent is Helen Breitweiser from Cornerstone Literary and she is amazing (obviously). Book one (at least) is due out next year.

  8. Honestly, that’s the best thing I’ve read for some time, Jackie. Absolutely brilliant news and am really delighted for you.
    All the best with St Martin’s Press. Look forward to seeing how it all works out for you.

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